On August 9, the Tokyo Olympics medal winners from the Indian contingent were felicitated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Several people pointed out that while the event was organised to congratulate the Olympic medal winners, Prime Minister Modi’s photographs were displayed on the stage. Vinod Kapri, Congress members Zakiya Khan and Hemant Ogale, and many other Twitter accounts pointed out that the banner in the background and two banners next to the stage displayed PM Modi’s images.

BJP supporters came out in defence while stating that the banners (which were LED screens) also displayed Neeraj Chopra’s photograph. Some of them claimed that those who posted the earlier image were leading a ‘hate campaign’ against PM Modi. Twitter user @garg_trupti juxtaposed the two images and wrote, “They will show you this [PM Modi’s image] to hide this [Chopra’s image].”

Twitter user @rishibagree accused Vinod Kapri of cropping the banners displaying Chopra’s image. Bagree has shared misinformation on multiple occasions in the past.

Multiple others made the same claim.

FACT-CHECK

Alt News saw the two footages of the felicitation ceremony. They were uploaded by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur on his YouTube channel and Facebook page. Unlike Bagree’s claim. the photograph of the felicitation was not cropped and shared by PM Modi’s critics.

Opening 20 minutes of the ceremony

The screenshot below is from the video uploaded by Thakur on his Facebook page. The very first frame shows that the display next to the centre stage shows the image of PM Modi. Readers can watch the ceremony themselves to find that PM Modi’s image was the default graphic on the LED screens. It only changed when an athlete was felicitated.

In the opening 20 minutes of the ceremony, apart from when the national anthem was played from 2:04 to 2:57, the screens displayed PM Modi’s picture. The Indian flag was displayed during the national anthem and within two seconds of its conclusion, the screens again displayed PM Modi’s image.

During the facilitation of athletes

When the athletes spoke on the stage, the display showed the images of the respective athlete. However, as soon as an athlete’s felicitation was completed, the LED screens switched to PM Modi’s picture until the next athlete spoke. Silver medal-winning wrestler Ravi Dhaiya spoke from 22:00 to 23:22 and by 23:27, PM Modi’s image was back on the display.

Lovlina Borgohain, who bagged bronze in boxing, and her coach’s facilitation was shown from 23:34 to 27:04. Two seconds later, the image of PM Modi was back on the display. While the LED screens are not visible at all times, parts of the display carrying PM Modi’s image and the switching of images to an athlete’s every time they spoke, suggested that the same format was followed throughout the ceremony.

Final segment of the ceremony

The final facilitation of Neeraj Chopra, who bagged gold in javelin, ended at the 51:15 mark. Shortly after, Kiren Rijiju Minister of Law and Justice of India made an address. At the 52:48 mark, we can see the display shows the image of PM Modi once again.

The LED screens had the image of PM Modi until the final frames of the video (1:02:55 mark).

Alt News also spoke with an individual who was part of the presentation team. “By and large, the image displayed on the two screens was of PM Modi except during the facilitation of the athlete and when the national anthem was played. The Indian flag was displayed when the anthem was played. I would also like to point out that the centre stage banner had a huge image of PM Modi. The athletes’ images looked stamp size as compared to PM Modi,” they said.

BJP supporters attempted to defend the display of giant-sized images of PM Modi during the felicitation of Olympic winners. They shared screenshots to show that photographs of the medal winners were also displayed. However, the fact that this was only for a few minutes was omitted. PM Modi’s picture was displayed throughout the ceremony except when an athlete spoke and when the national anthem was played.

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About the Author

Archit is a fact-checking journalist at Alt News since November 2019. Previously, he has worked as a producer at a TV news channel and as a reporter at a leading English-language daily. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at an NGO.